Alaska Bound

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Wigpro

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 23, 2012
Posts
1,289
Location
Montana in Summer - S CA this winter
I spend my summers working in Alaska and the past two winters traveling the Southwestern US in my small 5th wheel. The past two years I have left my rig in Montana and flown to where I worked in SE Alaska. This year I will be going to a different job and it will be much more comfortable having my little 5th wheel to live in while working.

I will be going to a small town outside of Denali - called Cantwell where I will be driving a jet boat taking people on a cruise up the river outside of Denali! It sound like a great adventure, however, before I start that Adventure I need to plan the drive up there.

I have already ordered my copy of the milepost and did a search in the library here and read the excellent account posted by Betty Brewer, what a agreat accounting of their trip and I have learned quite a bit.

However there is always room for more information and if anyone here can make any suggestions it would surely be appreciated.

I will be leaving from Kalispell Montana around the last week of April. I need to be in Cantwell by May 10th.

Thanks

Jim
 
Since you are a photographer you might wish to consider taking a ferry boat to Alaska. Then you would have a bunch of days to relax and take photos of the west coast of Canada and Alaska. I have not yet been to Alaska but when I do I know one of the directions will be by ferry.
 
SeilerBird said:
Since you are a photographer you might wish to consider taking a ferry boat to Alaska. Then you would have a bunch of days to relax and take photos of the west coast of Canada and Alaska. I have not yet been to Alaska but when I do I know one of the directions will be by ferry.

My plan is to make the return trip by ferry, from Whittier to Bellingham WA. I have taken the ferry from Bellingham to Ketchikan several times and also from Ketchikan to Prince Rupert, it is a great way to go and I enjoy it.

This will be my first trip driving all the way up the ALCan and I am hoping to get some feedback on any pitfalls I may encounter.

Thanks, but from a pure financial standpoint on the way up the least expensive way for me will be to drive and it will be a requirement.

Jim
 
Jim-

If you look in the "Trip reports, journals . . ." sub-forum just below this one, you will see journals of trips by two different members, Marsha/CA and SargeW, that give a lot of details about their travel.  Both of them drove through Canada and had a lot of info on that.  I'm sure one of them will probably chime in on this thread as well.
 
Wigpro - 

I think your time frame  requires a much earlier departure date than most of the trips to Alaska I've read about on the forum, so people might be a little hesitant to comment.  When we made the trip in 2000, we left Great Falls, MT on May 24th.  Rivers were still frozen and we had to be very careful about frost heaves. 

Margi
 
Tom and Margi said:
Wigpro - 

I think your time frame  requires a much earlier departure date than most of the trips to Alaska I've read about on the forum, so people might be a little hesitant to comment.  When we made the trip in 2000, we left Great Falls, MT on May 24th.  Rivers were still frozen and we had to be very careful about frost heaves. 

Margi

Let me expand on that a bit.  You will be headed up the AlCan and over on to the Richardson Hwy during the spring break up period.  The Nenana Breakup was on April 23 in 2012.    Road condtions can be iffy during that period.    Be ready for washboarding, pingos, and washouts.  Allow lots of time and be sure to make lots of local inquiry as you head north. 
 
Carl L said:
Let me expand on that a bit.  You will be headed up the AlCan and over on to the Richardson Hwy during the spring break up period.  The Nenana Breakup was on April 23 in 2012.    Road condtions can be iffy during that period.    Be ready for washboarding, pingos, and washouts.  Allow lots of time and be sure to make lots of local inquiry as you head north. 

Thanks, it is what it is...I have to be there to start work on May 10th, so I would prefer to leave with plenty of time to enjoy the trip. But even if I leave May 1st it won't change things much...so it will be late April and we'll just have to take it easy and check the road conditions often. I also understand that many places won't even be open as generally they don't open until Memorial Day or so.

But it is a year round route and I have read some info on people making the trip in the winter. I have also searched the library here and read several good recaps of trips.

But this info is helpful and I will keep it all in mind when the time comes. Right now I am freezing my a__ off in Moab Utah and heading down to Arizona tomorrow to get some sun and fun before I head north in a couple months....

Any additional advice will be appreciated.

Thanks

Jim
 
Wigpro said:
I have already ordered my copy of the milepost and did a search in the library here and read the excellent account posted by Betty Brewer, what a agreat accounting of their trip and I have learned quite a bit.

Jim,

Thank you very much for the compliment!  I just wish we were returning to Alaska to go on your boat ride!

I  wrote the journal with the hope of helping visitors to follow!
 
My advice would also be dated - we made the journey in 2002. Rather than taking the Alcan all the way, we went to Pricne George and over to the Casiar Hw, then north to the Alcan, just west of Watson Lake, then to Tok, and all around AK. My main advice is to take it slow and easy, especially since you are probably going to be traveling early in the season when washouts & frost heaves are common.

When do you need to be in Cantwell?
 
Gary RV Roamer said:
My advice would also be dated - we made the journey in 2002. Rather than taking the Alcan all the way, we went to Pricne George and over to the Casiar Hw, then north to the Alcan, just west of Watson Lake, then to Tok, and all around AK. My main advice is to take it slow and easy, especially since you are probably going to be traveling early in the season when washouts & frost heaves are common.

When do you need to be in Cantwell?

I need to be in Cantwell on the 9th to start on the 10th of May. I have been advised that this time of year is not the time to take the Cassiar! So I will be going the ALCAN the entire way...

Thanks for the info though.

Jim
 
On our second trip to Alaska a few years ago, we left the San Francisco area on May 1st and arrived in Alaska on June 1st.  We went by ferry from Prince Rupert to Skagway and returned on the Alcan in August.  I can tell you that a lot of places in BC and Alaska were not open until May 15th, especially tourist attractions.  Aside from the road conditions mentioned previously, you should probably check at each fuel stop where your next one might be.  You certainly don't want to run out of fuel in the middle of nowhere and I'm not sure that all the stations will be open that early.  Perhaps someone who has driven the Alcan that early will speak up and let us know if fuel is an issue then.

ArdraF
 
In '03, after we left the Forum Moab rally we drove to Ogden, UT to meet up with our RV club from home for our Alaska trip. We left Ogden May 10. We drove to Calgary, Jasper, Dawson Creek, TOW and Chicken, arriving in Fairbanks 6/2. Weather was never an issue tho the lakes were still frozen and saw lots of snow but not on the highways.
 
If you look in the Journals and Trip forum, I was in Alaska this year and wrote a Journal entitled "Alaska, Just the facts Ma'am". It was the trip more from a operational point of view.  If you get the chance take a look here http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php?topic=54670.0  at it for some more recent technical information. 
 
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